Gold medal in Plumelec
Basque powerhouse from Movistar Team claims Spain's big success in Morbihan with a sensational display over the tough, 45km course between Josselin and Plumelec's Côte de Cadoudal; puts end to bad streak after serious injury in February, 4th place in Olympics, 2nd spot six days ago at Vuelta time trial
An exemplary domestique has finally got to raise his arms victorious in 2016, a year that had turned its back against him so many times throughout the season. Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar Team) shone again as bright as he always does with his national squad, and claimed the first-ever European TT title for professional riders in Plumelec, the same place team-mate Alejandro Valverde donned the Tour de France yellow jersey eight years ago. Always helping out the Spaniard and, above all, Nairo Quintana, whom he took to glory in a brilliant Vuelta a España for the whole team, the Getxo-born cyclist -seriously injured back in his neck back in February, after a crash following the final stage of the Volta ao Algarve– rode an exceptional race over the 45km parcours in Brittany, an event where Nelson Oliveira came close to complete happiness after missing out on bronze by only 17 seconds.
It was a strong race overall for the two top Blues -Jasha Sütterlin, an early starter, took 19th in the day-, yet cautious at the beginning, with Poland’s Marcin Bialoblocki -eventually 9th at the finish- putting 5" on Nelson (2nd) and 6" on 'Castro' at the first intermediate, the 29-year-old Basque equal to Sylvain Chavanel (FRA; 13th over the line). While Oliveira conserved his second spot at the second time check, Castroviejo surged powerful towards a first place -25" over Nelson- he never let go anymore. At the final climb, a strong charge from both Victor Campenaerts (BEL, silver) and Moreno Moser (ITA, bronze) ruined Oliveira’s hopes, the Iberian still happy about Castroviejo as he claimed his 8th pro win –fourteenth from the Movistar Team, half the roster, to take a win this 2016– and upped the Eusebio Unzué-managed team account to an almost historic figure: 35 wins, just one short of the squad’s all-time record from 1998.
Jonathan Castroviejo: “Taking on such a TT just four days after a Vuelta a España is really difficult. It all depends on how you have finished things off there, if your team did well and you’ve got morale – I really tried to recover as much as possible, eat much and healthy, have as much rest as possible, and keeping my mind focused on this tough course, almost an hour-long one, with rough roads, small climbs, plenty of elevation gain. Fortunately, things turned out well.
“Having such experience from so many close calls really helped me today. You know that in such demanding courses, an effort of 55-60 minutes, everything can be lost on the last few kilometers, and as we saw that the start also suggested to take on a big gear and push hard, I rather decided to save some energy and stay calm for the end. We knew the Côte de Cadoudal and it was more than necessary to save some legs for the end. That was the plan, we developed it, and we delivered – I’m so happy!
“The Qatar Worlds? Well, we’ve got time before that. For me, the most important thing now is having some more rest, recovering also my head and not only my legs – and enjoying my family, whom I dedicate this victory. My wife and my child really suffered after my hard injury in February, and I can’t thank them enough for remaining close and caring. After that, we will race a couple of race with the team in Italy and we will start thinking about the Worlds after that. When it comes to physical work, we’ve done more than enough before Doha already!”